Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 13 PD: Schoology, Mastery Manager, and Subtext

We offered a variety of professional development sessions each period for all eight periods on Thursday, November 13, 2014. The four 30-minute sessions I taught were:

  • Schoology - Self Paced Lessons
  • Schoology - Grading Rubrics
  • Mastery Manager - Grading Rubrics
  • Subtext
Schoology is gaining a great deal of interest due to the ability to tag all assessments and assignments with learning standards, create grading rubrics that are aligned to those standards, and then use a standards-based grading system. Teachers will schedule sessions to learn more about this through the Tech Boot Camp, Tech Buddies, and Tech Captains professional development sessions.

Mastery Manager is the software used for benchmark assessments that are aligned to curricular standards. It can capture a great deal of data regarding student and class performance and track those results over time. However, users say that it is cumbersome to use and that the online testing app is still buggy.

Subtext is software that allows students to read and annotate PDFs of books, textbooks and lecture notes. They can also digitally "raise their hand" to ask their peers for anonymous help. It is a great resource. A change to their pricing scheme slated to take effect July 2015 is keeping many teachers from pursuing the use of Subtext any further.

Monday, August 4, 2014

iPad pickup August 11-15 for Fremd High School students

Fremd students can pick up their iPads for the 2014-2015 school year during the dates of August 11 - August 15 between the hours of 8am and 3pm. All students will be able to pick up their iPads during these times. Freshmen will have an additional option of picking up their iPads during the Freshman Kickoff event on August 18. Students who do not pick up your iPad on one of these days will have to wait until school begins to pick it up from the Technology Center.

We expect heavy crowds on August 11. Please consider waiting until August 12 or later before picking up your iPad.

One way to save time is to sign up for the FAST PASS system.  The Fast Pass ticketing system allows you to choose a day and time that works for you which gives you priority access for picking up your iPad. If you use the Fast Pass system be sure to bring your ticket with you either in paper form or in mobile format.

To pick up your iPad you must be already be registered for school and have all your fees paid. You must also bring a photo ID which includes your junior high school ID or high school ID; your passport; your driver's license; a gym membership card, YMCA card or pool pass. It must include your name and photograph.

Students, you can only pick up your iPad. You will not be permitted to pick up anyone else's iPad even if they are family members. Parents are allowed to pick up an iPad for their children.

Monday, April 14, 2014

How to connect to the new wireless network called Aruba

Starting on April 16, 2014 the Fremd High School technology staff will begin installing a new wireless network which is scheduled for completion by April 30. During the two week installation period you may notice some inconsistency with connecting to the wireless network. The following information should help you to overcome any problems that you may face.

What is Aruba?
The new hardware is made by Aruba Networks, which sounds very promising, doesn't it? Who doesn't like Aruba? I bet it never snows in Aruba on April 14. Sorry, I've digressed. The new Aruba access points will improve the speed of the Internet and can handle more devices like laptops, iPads, and cell phones compared to the last set of access points. It will help the school keep up with the demand related to being a full 1:1 school starting in August 2014.

Aruba also gives the tech staff the ability to control the flow of data to make sure that school-issued devices like iPads have first priority over cell phone use. The devices used for teaching and learning will have better access to the Internet even when demand is high.

How do you connect to the Aruba access points?
When you are using your school-issued laptop you will not need to do anything to connect to Aruba. Your computer is already set up to connect automatically.

For your school-issued iPad you will have to sign in to the new network just once. To sign in to the Aruba network on your iPad go to Settings ->Wi-Fi -> and then choose D211-Mobile as your network. You will be asked to enter a username (your school computer login such as ksorensen in my case) and a password (your school computer password).  Your iPad will keep the network settings you enter so you will rarely have to log in again.

What about cell phones, laptops, tablets, and other devices brought from home? Any device owned by you and not the school should use the Guest network which does not require a username or password.

For two weeks there will be two systems running at the same time: the new Aruba network and the old Meru network. There can be conflicts especially when moving between rooms. The best tip to follow if your computer or iPad does not automatically connect to the Internet is to check your network settings. Laptops should be connected to D211 while iPads should be connected to D211-Mobile (new Aruba network) or Student 1:1 (old network) depending on where you are in the building. If you need assistance at any time please visit the Technology Center and we will be happy to help you.

The end result
On April 30 there will only be one system - Aruba. School-issued laptops will connect to the D211 network, school-issued iPads will connect to the D211-Mobile network, and all other personal devices will connect to the Guest network.

Apple TV
To use an Apple TV your iPad and the actual Apple TV device must be on the same network. We have already made changes that will allow you to continue using your Apple TV after the network change. As long as the Apple TV is on the Student 1:1 network and your iPad is on D211-Mobile (new Aruba network) or Student 1:1 (old network) then you can continue to use your Apple TV just as you had before.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Installing the new VPN client

What is VPN?

VPN is used to provide a secure connection to many computer resources that are safely protected back in the district office. If you are at home or anyplace else outside of school you can use VPN to send print jobs to a computer back at school, access your H Drive right on your computer, and get to protected district materials stored on the SIP, RTI, and other web sites.

Installing VPN

You can install or upgrade the VPN software yourself. There are two different scenarios below that will help you.  As of April 2014 the district was using version 3.1 of the AnyConnect VPN software.  
  • When you are outside of a district building you can open up a browser (like Chrome) and enter the address https://vpn.d211.org to get to the VPN login screen where you can install or upgrade the software. 
  • If you are still at school you will need to open up a browser and enter in the address bar to go to the VPN page to download or upgrade the software. 
As always, you can also stop by the technology center inside the school for assistance.

More information on VPN

Watch this video to see how to run VPN on your computer for the first time. If you have never heard of VPN watch this extremely ridiculous video shown below. It is less than two minutes long, it's actually very informative and accurate, and it will probably make you laugh.